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addiction on tv

5/09/13 4:04pm

The First (Decent) Sober Sitcom to Hit Prime Time

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Will you watch? Photo via

AA has had a hard time of it on TV, what with all the relapses and irreverence. This could soon change in the fall in a new situation comedy starring Anna Faris as a sober Mom and Alison Janney as her mother in Mom, the first ever specifically sober-centric TV sitcom of the millennial. Created by Chuck Lorre (Big Bang TheoryMike and MollyTwo and a Half Men), the show features Faris as Christy, a young mother struggling with early sobriety in Napa Valley. The talent behind the project is backed up by CBS, with the network choosing to pick up the pilot—ahead of 22 other shows—a full week before announcing their upfront presentation. The show also features 3d Rock from The Sun's French Stewart and The Daily Show's Nate Corddry. Produced by Warner Brothers and Chuck Lorre productions, it is set to air on CBS this fall. Lorre co-wrote the show, on spec, with veteran producer Eddie Gorodetsky and writer Gemma Baker and it's scheduled to air on Mondays at 8:30pm, following the final season of How I met Your Mother. Bonus irony points—Janney starred with a sober Martin Sheen on The West Wing, and of course Sheen is the father of Charlie, who Lorre fired, killing his character, from Two and a Half Men in 2011.

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By William Georgiades

dangerous driving

5/09/13 3:22pm

Texting While Driving More Fatal Than Drunk Driving

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Can it wait? Photo via

Smartphones, the "21st Century Narcotic," are killing more than just our attention spans. Texting while driving is now the leading cause of traffic deaths among teens, making it even more hazardous than drunk driving, according to a new study. An estimated 3,000 teens die annually from texting while driving, compared to 2,700 teen drunk driving casualties, according to Researchers at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park. And statistics show that if you are texting while operating a vehicle, you're 23 times more likely to crash. "We have very strong taboos against drinking and driving. Kids don't drink and drive every day. But some kids are out there texting and driving seven days a week—and they admit it," says Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen. The CDC reported last fall that drinking among teen drivers has decreased by 54% since 1991, but texting has rapidly increased, with 50% of teen drivers now admitting to using their cellphones while driving. State lawmakers are pushing for tougher regulations against "distracted driving," but Adesman says there has been no evidence that prior legislation has been effective. "When we compared states where there are no laws in effect [barring texting while operating a moving vehicle] and states where there are laws on the books, we found there was no difference in their responses," says Adesman. "Clearly, the laws are not effective."

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By Victoria Kim

prescription drug addiction

5/09/13 2:31pm

Pete Wentz "Spiraled" in to Rx Drug Addiction

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Pete Wentz "felt like a loser" Photo via

Pete Wentz, the frontman of American pop punk band Fall Out Boy, says he recently recovered from an addiction to prescription drugs that stemmed from his band's hiatus and his divorce from pop star Ashlee Simpson. Wentz, 33, had abused prescription drugs Xanax and Klonopin during Fall Out Boy's mid-2000s heyday, but says he curtailed his drug use after the birth of his son, Bronx, in 2008. However, the band's 2009 hiatus, along with his subsequent divorce, led to the bassist's drug habit spiraling out of control. "I was probably physically and mentally addicted. It started from insomnia and anxiety from flying, then it spiraled," says Wentz in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. "I felt like a loser already. I'd basically gone from being the guy in Fall Out Boy to being the guy who, like, hangs out all day. I didn't see how I'd ever come out on the other side." His drug use also led to bouts of extreme paranoia. "I was scared of everything. I thought there were always people listening to me," he says. "Like, I had my house searched for bugs. It was crazy." Although he never entered into drug treatment, Wentz credits therapy and the desire to be a good father with helping him beat his addictions. "You're up in the morning and you really have to be there. It's not like getting up for a radio interview," he says, "In some ways, that was super helpful for my soul."

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By McCarton Ackerman

quitting smoking

5/09/13 1:08pm

Woman Quits Smoking by Slapping a Cop

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She's finally free! Photo via

Here's one way to quit smoking: assault police personnel, get arrested and be forced to go cold turkey in jail. This was the plan that led 31-year-old Etta Lopez to wait outside the Sacramento County Jail for hours for a law enforcement official to come out, so she could slap him. The victim of her ploy, Deputy Matt Campoy, says she came out of nowhere and purposely blocked his path. “All of a sudden, she stepped into me and slapped me in the face,” he says. As she had hoped, Lopez was immediately arrested and taken to jail. “She told us that she needed to quit smoking,” says Campoy. “She explained it with great detail as to why.” One of Lopez's neighbors says he supports her quitting the habit, but not her chosen cessation method. “There’s easier ways to stop smoking than hitting a cop,” he says. “that’s not the way I want to quit.” Kimberly Bankston-Lee of California anti-smoking group Breathe California says that the desperation behind such a plan shows just how difficult it is to quit. “If it led somebody to do something like that to quit, that lets us know in the community that we have a real problem,” says Bankston-Lee. Check out the local news report below:

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By Bryan Le

marijuana risks

5/09/13 12:13pm

Heavy Pot Smoking Not Linked to Cancer

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Good news, potheads! Photo via

Good news for Cheech and Chong! Hardcore potheads may be at no greater risk for lung cancer than those who only toke up occasionally, according to new research. The link between marijuana and lung cancer has been long disputed, but a new study from the International Lung Cancer Consortium (ILCCO) found that habitual pot smokers were not more likely to develop lung disease than non-habitual pot smokers, no matter how long they had used the drug. Researchers looked at data from six case-control studies of 2,159 lung cancer cases and 2,985 controls, in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, from 1999 to 2012. While examining the marijuana smokers—and excluding tobacco smokers—they found frequency of pot use did not affect lung cancer risk. However, researchers allowed for the possibility that an "extremely high dosage [of pot] over long periods of continued exposure,” could still be dangerous. Though other studies have claimed marijuana's cancer risks are underestimated, many believe cigarettes are far more toxic due to chemical additives in the smoke. "The conventional wisdom is that cannabis smoking is not as dangerous as cigarette smoking," says pulmonologist Michael Alberts, although he does caution that smoking anything can harm the respiratory system. But for medical marijuana patients, he says the drug may be worth the respiratory risk, depending on condition. Says Alberts: "If cannabis is indicated, and if it’s legal, and if there’s literature backing up the indication for use, then you weigh the risk of smoking and the benefit it could bring, and make the decision."

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By Valerie Tejeda

good grief

5/09/13 11:11am

Charlie Brown Actor Ordered To Rehab

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Robbins (left) and Charlie Brown Photo via

Good grief! Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown, was sentenced to a year in jail and then immediately released and sent to a drug treatment center for threatening his former girlfriend and stalking her plastic surgeon. In the mid-'60s, the voice actor played the famously beleaguered star of numerous Peanuts TV specials, including It's a Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Robbins, 56, pled guilty last month and has been in jail since last January for calling his ex-girlfriend 37 times in a day and threatening to kill her and her son if she didn't return his car and his dog (named Snoopy). He also allegedly stalked her female plastic surgeon and demanded a refund for her breast enhancement, calling the office so frequently that the surgeon moved to a hotel and hired an armed guard. Robbins blamed his behavior on his addictions to alcohol and prescription drugs, declaring that treatment was a necessary step to becoming the "the fun-loving person" he once was. In addition to sentencing Robbins to five years' probation, Superior Court Judge Dwayne Moring also ordered him to pay the plastic surgeon $15,082 in restitution and to avoid contacting her for 10 years. Any violations of terms of his probation will lead to a mandatory four-year sentence. Judge Moring borrowed a line from Charlie Brown's friend Lucy in telling Robbins in court: "Don't be a blockhead."

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By McCarton Ackerman

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